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WWI Hungarian War Supporter copper watch fob acquired by a Jewish army veteran

Object | Accession Number: 2010.81.7

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    WWI Hungarian War Supporter copper watch fob acquired by a Jewish army veteran

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    World War I Hungarian War Supporter copper watch ornament originally owned by Bela Krausz, issued for contributions to military aid for the year 1915/16. Bela, an Orthodox Jew and WWI veteran, was arrested in Budapest on May 31, 1944, following the occupation of Hungary by Nazi Germany on March 19. He was deported in July to an unknown concentration camp where he was killed. In November, his wife Lenke went into hiding with their daughter Kati and her children, and her son-in-law’s family. The city was liberated by Soviet forces in January 1945. Lenke brought the watch fob with her when she left Hungary with Kati and her family in January 1949 for the United States.
    Date
    commemoration:  1915-1916
    emigration:  1949 September 21
    received:  approximately 1944 May
    Geography
    issue: Budapest (Hungary)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Peter Veres
    Markings
    front, around border, embossed : HADSEGELYEZO / 1915/1916 [Military Aid]
    Contributor
    Original owner: Bela Krausz
    Subject: Bela Krausz
    Subject: Lenke Krausz
    Subject: Peter J. Veres
    Biography
    Bela Krausz was born on August 9, 1878, in Eger, Hungary. His father, Lajos Krausz, was a wine exporter, born in 1852, and his mother, Linka, was born in 1857. He had 2 brothers and a sister; Dezso, born in 1880, Etel, born in 1883, and Aladar, born in 1890. The family kept a kosher house and observed the holidays. Though Jewish, Bela attended a Catholic high school. He received a law degree from the Ferencz Jozsef University and practiced law in Budapest.
    He married Lenke Deutsch on March 20, 1910 and the couple had 2 children, Kati, born on April 16, 1911, and Gabor, on March 20, 1915, both in Budapest. He served as a lieutenant in the Hungarian army in World War I, guarding a prisoner of war camp in Czechoslovakia. In 1917, he was stationed in Miskolc, Hungary, and the family lived there for 2 years.
    He was a lawyer for the Vilmos Deutsch Company, owned by his father-in-law, and the Fejer and Danos Architectural firm, in which his brother-in-law was a partner. He also managed the Deutsch family real estate holdings. In January 1941, Bela’s health started to fail. He had a heart attack on August 3, 1942, and spent a month in the hospital.
    On March 19, 1944, German forces occupied Hungary and anti-Jewish decrees were put in place; Jews had to wear Star of David armbands, move into ghettos, and deportations to concentration camps began. Bela again fell ill on April 25, and was admitted to the hospital. The next day, he received his first notice to report to an internment camp, but he was exempted because he was in the hospital. He was released, and on May 11, 1944, the Krausz family moved into the Veres family apartment in Pest. Bela was on a list of prominent lawyers created by Hungarian Nazis, and on May 31, he was arrested and detained at a school on Rokk Szilard Street. On June 19, Lenke and Kati visited him; they received their last communication from Bela on July 1. He was taken to an unknown camp and murdered.
    Lenke Deutsch was born in 1887 in Budapest, Hungary, to Orthodox Jewish parents. Her father Vilmos , a grain dealer, was born in 1855 in Tolna, Hungary, and her mother, Iren, was born in 1864 in Budapest. Lenke had 5 siblings, all born in Budapest: Laszlo in 1884, Berta in 1885, Anni in 1886, Armin in 1890, and Renee in 1892. Her parents were Orthodox but they did not require their children to be observant. She married Bela Krausz, a lawyer, on March 20, 1910, in Budapest, and they had 2 children, Kati, born on April 16, 1911, and Gabor, on March 20, 1915, both in Budapest. The family kept a Kosher house and observed the holidays.

    On March 19, 1944, German forces occupied Hungary and anti-Jewish decrees were put in place; Jews had to wear Star of David armbands, move into designated buildings, and deportations to concentration camps began. Bela became ill and was admitted to the hospital on April 25; the next day, his first notice to report to an internment camp came, but he was spared as he was still in the hospital. On May 3, 1944, apartments and houses belonging to Jews were registered and labeled with a yellow star. Lenke, Bela, Kati, and their grandson Peter, moved in with Kati’s in laws, Armin and Sari Veres, on May 11. During bombing raids, the family would hide in the basement. By June 23, all Jews had to move into yellow star buildings, one family per room. The Veres apartment was not in a yellow star building, and both families moved in with a Veres family friend. On May 31, Bela was again arrested and detained; Lenke and Kati visited him on June 19. Her second grandson, Paul, was born on June 21, 1944. Lenke received her last communication from Bela on July 1, before he was deported to an unknown camp and murdered.

    On October 16, 1944, Peter was sent to live with 2 Swiss Catholic women and stayed with them for three months. On November 3, Kati, Lenke, and Paul went into hiding at the Hotel Pannonia. On December 15, a friend got them an official permit designating them as refugees. They were able to move into an apartment and no longer wore their armbands. The siege of Budapest started on December 24, and the family took shelter in the basement. On December 27, Lenke had gallstone attack and almost died. Pest was liberated by the Soviet army on January 14, 1945. Lenke, her daughter’s family, and Armin and Sari, were reunited and moved back to the bomb damaged Veres apartment. On May 4, Lenke and Kati’s family moved back to her pre-occupation family home in Buda.

    Lenke decided to leave Hungary with Kati and her family. Her son-in-law, George, bribed a contact with money and 2 cars in exchange for passports. In January 1949, Katie, George, and the boys boarded a train for Milan, Italy. Lenke stayed behind to close up the house and liquidate their belongings. She left to join her family in Milan on January 29. Kati and her family left for the United States and arrived in New York on March 29, 1949. Lenke stayed in Italy; she would get a preferred visa once her son, Gabor, who lived in the US, became a citizen. She received her visa on August 10 and arrived in New York on September 21. She lived in the same building with Kati and her family and became US citizen on April 11, 1955.

    Lenke died on December 2, 1968, at age 81. George died on February 1, 1974, at age 67, Kati on February 20, 1994, at age 82, and Gabor on January 22, 1999, at age 83, all in New York City.
    Peter Jaos Veres was born on October 23, 1938, in London. His father George, a businessman, was born on September 7, 1906, and his mother, Kati, was born on April 16, 1911, both in Budapest, Hungary. On March 13, 1938, Nazi Germany annexed Austria and news of Jewish persecution filtered into Hungary. Kati was pregnant at the time. George decided the baby would be born in England so he would have a British passport and not be identified as a Hungarian Jew. On August 24, Kati left for London; George arrived in October. After the child, Peter, was born, he was baptized as an Anglican and the family returned to Budapest on November 11.
    On March 19, 1944, German forces occupied Hungary and anti-Jewish decrees were put in place; Jews had to wear Star of David armbands, move into designated buildings, and deportations to concentration camps began. Since 1939, George had been in and out of forced labor camps and after the German invasion he was interred at a camp in Budapest. On May 3, 1944, apartments and houses belonging to Jews were registered and labeled with a yellow star. Peter, his mother, and grandmother Lenke moved in with his paternal grandparents on May 11. During bombing raids, the family would hide in the basement. His brother, Paul, was born on June 21, 1944, in Budapest. By June 23, all Jews had to move into yellow star buildings, one family per room. The Veres apartment was not in a yellow star building, and they had to move in with a family friend. Peter, being under six years old, was not required to wear a yellow star. Every morning he walked to the corner to buy milk for his baby brother, and his mother watched him from their apartment balcony to make sure he was safe.
    Peter, as a British national, was under the protection of the Swiss consulate. George arranged for Peter to live with two Swiss Catholic women, Elizabeth Baeriswyl and her niece, Mimi. Peter left his mother on October 16, 1944, and stayed with them for three months. During that time he posed as a relative, went to church, and attended Sunday school. His father would periodically escape from his labor camp and arrange to see Peter in a public place. They would not speak, just have visual contact. On November 3, 1944, Kati, Lenke, and Peter went into hiding; George escaped from the camp on December 12, 1944, and hid in a Swiss emergency hospital. On January 14, 1945, Pest was liberated by the Soviet army and Peter was reunited with his family.
    After liberation, the Veres family and Lenke decided to leave Hungary. In January 1949, they left Budapest for Milan, Italy. They sailed on the M/S Sobieski from Genoa, Italy, for the United States. Lenke stayed in Italy and sailed on a later date. On ship, Peter played shuffleboard and watched American movies. They arrived in New York City on March 29, 1949. They spent the night on Ellis Island and officially entered the U.S. on March 30. Due to the Displaced Persons Act passed on June 25, 1948, the family was able to obtain Permanent Residency Cards and remain in the U.S. Peter, as a British national, was considered an alien and did not fall under the protection of the Act. He had to go to Canada and reenter the U.S. under a different visa. On June 8, 1959, he became a U.S. citizen.
    He moved to California, married, and had 2 children. George died on February 1, 1967, at age 67, Lenke on December 2, 1968, at 81, and Kati on February 20, 1994, at 82, all in Manhattan.

    Physical Details

    Language
    Hungarian
    Category
    Timepieces
    Object Type
    Watch fobs (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Copper medallion with a raised rim with a brown leather adjustable buckle strap with a suspension ring looped through a semicircular slot at the top. On the front is an embossed design featuring the Hungarian middle coat of arms: a small divided shield; a double cross within a crown and 3 hills, and 7 stripes. The large shield has 6 divisions: from the top right, a checkerboard, an eagle, the sun and moon, a horizontal line, 7 crenulated towers, and at the bottom, a 2 headed eagle. From the top left: 3 crowned lion heads, a 6 pointed star, a marten, and 2 wavy lines, and an arm holding a saber. A white enamel painted banner with Hungarian text and dates borders the medallion. On the reverse are elongated numbers cast over a background of horizontal lines with Hungarian text within a semicircle at the bottom.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm) | Width: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    Materials
    overall : metal, leather, enamel paint, thread

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The WWI Hungarian War Supporter watch fob was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Peter Veres.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-31 10:16:06
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn47175

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